As of tomorrow, I will be sixteen weeks pregnant. At times it seems like it is going so slowly (especially when I feel worried). At other times it seems like it is going so quickly. Sometimes I think, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for a long time. And I still got a long way to go.
So what has it been like to run and CrossFit while pregnant?
I’ll begin with CrossFit, because that is what I’ve been able to do the most consistently. Even though it would be a few weeks until my appointment, I told my coaches I was pregnant right away. Initially I only made it two times a week (when before I was making it three times, running three times, biking twice, swimming once a week). As I said, I felt pretty terrible. I used to go to the afternoon work out, but would be so tired by 5:30 that I started going at noon. Now I feel much more energetic and I go around three times a week, but the noon class is the habit at the moment.
When I had my first prenatal appointment, I told him I was still doing CrossFit and I got the go-ahead. I mainly just was told to watch the amount I lifted — don’t do one rep maxes, those sorts of things. I’ve been listening and don’t try to go to failure on anything, but of course, I’m still really new to CrossFit (I started early May) and so I’m in that stage where improving comes probably easier now than it will later. I have still PR’ed on my back squats and other lifts, but I would not squat or lift something if I thought I would not be able to do it. Still — it is nice to be able to see improvements in this area. And even more importantly, what a mood boost. As I also mentioned, I felt really bad emotionally during the first trimester. The biggest thing being able to go work out for me had nothing to do with how fast I went or much I lifted, but just that it made me feel a million times better and, of course, inspired.
It is hard to tell how much pregnancy is affecting what I do, because well, as I said, I’m still newish and it is just hard (in a good way, of course). So it is hard to tell on days when it is difficult because of the work out or hard because of hormones (most likely both). I have nothing really to compare it to. I was asked if I had started accommodating certain work outs and the only thing I have changed is box jumps. We had a work out a month or two ago. I can’t remember, but it featured 3 x 60 box jumps or something like that. Just a lot of box jumps. And I tripped on the last round. I was fine. It really was not a big deal, but I think psychologically my brain was like, “No more box jumps. Box jumps equals scary.” But other than box jumps, nothing else — well, except for all the things I have to normally accommodate like pull-ups and all that fun stuff I will hopefully some day be able to do.
Running has been a different story. It is different, because I do have something to compare it to. Namely, running before. Between September and mid-November I did not run at all. Bruno and I tried to go for a run one day and I puked. There I said it. It gave me a horrible, sloshy, motion sickness feeling that I just could not do it. And frankly, I did not miss it. I think I needed a break. It was nice to do CrossFit alone for a little bit and not worry at all about training. I only had the energy to work on my dissertation and teach and the very few classes I went to a week. It was a rough time.
Inevitably I did start missing running though. I started feeling better mid-November and started running at the exact same time, just short three and four mile runs. I’ve been following the Hal Higdon Winter Plan fairly consistently.
HOWEVER, it has been very different. I have days where I am about where I was prior to being pregnant. And then, I have days where all I am doing is a simple, easy twenty-five minute run and I am huffing and puffing and walking because I’m so completely shot. And unlike with CrossFit I can tell the difference. I know when the type of exhaustion is different, so I just go with it. I will have two days where I have to take a lot of walking breaks and the next day I can do some great (for me) 800m repeats. I also have days where I can tell that if I just get through the first mile I’ll be fine and other days where I’m just am like “we’re going to walk the rest of the time, mmmk?”
I’m happy with this. Those days where I have to walk, it can be kind of hard mentally, but I just try to enjoy the fact I’m outside — even if it is in the freezing Michigan cold. All of my longer-ish runs have gone really well — all of which I’ve negative split. There is nothing like getting into the rhythm of a long run. I would prefer that over a three mile run any day.
Moreover, I am not sure long any of this will last. I see on Instagram and blogs women who are able to run and work out until the day they pop. Others have to stop earlier. I’ve been trying to not get my hopes up and go with the flow. I’m not signing up for any races for just in case. I am just taking it week by week. And if I need a break, like today – I slept terribly last night, I just take one. I’m grateful to be able to do this.
What have been your experiences running and working out while pregnant?